Date of Award



University Studies

Faculty Advisor

Yeomans, Melinda L


In this Honors Thesis I combine holistic and feminist educational theory, what Paulo Freire refers to as “humanizing education,” with my own critical reflection on the empowering educational journey I have taken as an undergraduate (1 Pedagogy). This has been a journey to claiming my own voice, agency, empowerment, and critical understanding of my self-becoming and how this process works for others. These social justice pedagogies have helped me understand how identity is shaped by cultural contexts and institutions like education. Using the feminist research methodology of autoethnography, I show and describe the coming together of empowering pedagogy in my intellectual understanding, lived experience, and critical reflection. My holistic, feminist pedagogical commitments are based in the work of Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir, and other feminist theorists while simultaneously drawing on some key insights from other Western philosophers as a means of dismantling the master’s house with the master’s tools.

Autoethnography combines autobiography and ethnography, allowing autoethnography to represent both the journey and the discovery. Autoethnography as a research method allows the researcher to take themselves as the subject of research. This narrative method combines the experience of looking out while looking in, by describing and analyzing one’s personal experience as a means of understanding the interaction between cultural and personal experience. This methodology challenges traditional forms of research, with the aim of representing others/self in research in a way that is politically and socially just.